Posted on March 19, 2009

Vogue’s Beyonce Cover, Racist?

Annika Harris, The Frisky, March 17, 2009

Some folks have gotten their panties in a bunch over Beyonce’s cover for the “Shape Issue” of Vogue. Beyonce is one of only five black women to grace the cover of Vogue since it was founded in 1892, but blogs like Jezebel and Sociological Images think the magazine was being sexist and racist by putting her on the cover {snip}.


[A] blogger also asserts that the story is racist because it reinforces the stereotype that black women are especially curvy. I’ve never met a black woman, or man for that matter, that didn’t enjoy a little something extra in the trunk and thighs. I’m not saying we should reinforce stereotypes that have some truth, but I think most people only find fault with this stereotype when black women are hyper-sexualized as a result of their curves. Vogue didn’t sexualize Beyonce, in any way, as her body is hardly visible on the cover. {snip}

What I do find racist about this cover is that Beyonce fits an accepted ideal of black beauty. She has slightly Anglo features and light skin, like Halle Berry, who has also graced the cover. And she wears a long weave/wig of hair that most black women can’t grow naturally. Couple her appearance with her success and you realize Beyonce was a safe, unsurprising choice for the cover of the “Shape Issue,” which is an absolutely ridiculous concept for Vogue anyway, whose motto should be “thinner is better.”